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O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Linkee-poo ain't a beauty, but you're all right

For all the new people, what is it about this linkee-poo post that is driving such crazy numbers? Something that I did must have rung true with a lot of people, I just can't figure it out.

Now that I'm not really submitting short stories I haven't looked at Duotrope in a while, but I did happen to like the service (although I never used the submission tracker part of the site). While I support Duotrope, I'm not sure I'd do it through a subscription, for many of the reasons pointed out in this article with some alternatives to using Duotrope. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"If I want a house-cleaning business, the second I gather all of my cleaning supplies and a vacuum together in the back of my SUV and print off some business cards, I am a house-cleaning business. Even before my very first client." Kristen Lamb on the lies that can poison your dreams and what it takes to be a real, gosh darn writer. Or as Jim Hines has said in many a panel, "IF you need someone to tell you you're a writer before you believe you're a writer, fine, you're all writers."

What fan fiction can tell us about writing. Back when I was a younger writer and I discovered fanfic, I was immediately dismissive. However some very good friends have disabused me of that prejudice. And here's 7 things you could learn fro reading or writing fanfic. (Grokked from Tor.com)

More this is your brain, this is your brain on stories. Story does more than inform, it's actually the way our brains remember. If you don't believe this, just go listen to any of the "motivational" speakers out there. They all use story. Story is how we think and how we process information. Also, just a hint, our brains are very good at "mirroring". It's what's been colloquially known as the "monkey see, monkey do" function. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Speaking of brains, new research shows your cognitive functions work better when exposed to nature. So put down the internets and walk away from the computer. Although what I think they're really seeing is the vacation effect (people who take vacations are more "energized" and able to focus on tasks when they return). Which has already been well documented. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Want to see something uplifting? Terri Windling shares a film teaser for "Landfill Harmonic". That's a film about people using recycled material (trash) to create musical instruments so their kids can grow up with music. There are literally millions of children who grow up in these desperately poor communities, but even they value art (where in the US, the most prosperous nation, we cut it from our schools' curriculums). Art finds a way. And if you don't tear up as Bebi tells you about his cello and plays the Prelude to Bach´s Cello Suite No. 1… well you might want to check your conscious. Sure, it's not Yo Yo Ma's Davidov (a Stradivarius), but he plays it well and it's beautiful music.

Apparently witchcraft, spells, and curses are no longer just third world plagues. This time it's in Wales (all my neo-pagan friends in the UK, start hiding the matches). Before you smirk, it's not like we don't have people here in the US who have this problem. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Speaking of, the Slactivist is collecting any stories you have about being discriminated against for playing Dungeons and Dragons (or any of the many alternatives). I played AD&D back in the 80s and have quite a few good memories of it, and I definitely have ideas about what makes a good DM and adventure experience. I also remember encountering the whole, "You're going to go insane" or "Only devil worshipers play those", but I've always been one to brush off those comments when I'm doing something I want to do.

It happens every time there is a new technology people don't really understand, the quacks come out of the woodwork to fleece the masses. At CES 2013 a company is supposed to "demonstrate" (but mostly "sell") a "veterinary tricorder" that will, though the power (read: Magic Happens Here) of "quantum computing" download a healing package directly to your pet's brain. How's that for awesome sauce, you know, the rancid kind of awesome sauce that gets all over your shoes and won't come out. Another device with a long history that includes "sunshine" therapy (with magnifying lenses so you to can understand what it's like to be an ant), corn flakes for masturbation prevention (stop laughing, I'm serious), electrifying various parts of the anatomy (you know this is how they start the animal artificial-insemination process), crystals, and long distance faith healing (which this seems to be a direct descendent of). Although for me it's very interesting because I have a short story where a computer can connect via a tele-neural interface (which I started rewriting Tuesday, no, really, I did). (Pointed to by Dan)

So, here's something that should be a real inspirational poster. In case you ever want to complain about your job, think about these guys. Feel better? The good thing is that these days cleaning the screens in the "waste water treatment plant" is automated (although some older plants may still do it manually). It really doesn't make the job that much better. As a councilman, one of my first jobs was liaison to the water board. As a part of that I learned all I could about our village's water supply and treatment. Fortunately we were just finishing a brand new treatment plant (of which my name is up on the dedication plaque with the other councilmen). It's still a dirty job (I believe Mike Rowe did several episodes in various water treatment plants). What the photo isn't showing is the presence of flies, and although I am experiencing an olfactory memory you probably aren't. (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack)

Another response to Wayne LaPierre's (can I just call him Black Jacque Shellac, it has the same number of syllables?) screed. Okay, we agree that "There exists in this country… (a) corrupting shadow industry that sells… violence against its own people" (Hey Wayne, the 80s are calling, they want their cause celeb back), now do something about it. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Now, researchers who've studied the effect of the laws have found that states with a stand your ground law have more homicides than states without such laws." I'm sure the NRA has an answer for this, something about liberty, protection, whatever. I wonder when this fact becomes know, "this analysis found the additional deaths caused by the laws were largely concentrated among white men" if people will reconsider these laws. I know, I'm being cynical, but lately in my mind when I hear Stand Your Ground Laws being defended as the "Right to Protect Yourself" I automatically substitute the phrase, "Your Right to Shoot Brown People." I guess I need to rethink that prejudice.

Lastly on gun control, well, that didn't take long. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @pourmecoffee: Everyone pay tribute to the expiring 112th Congress today by doing absolutely nothing with occasional bursts of great harm.

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